HELM by Steven Gould


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A new science fiction coming-of-age adventure from the author of Wildside (1996), etc. Robot probes from Earth terraformed the ringed planet Agatsu, but the unscrupulous use of an ultimate brainwashing device, the' 'imprinter,"" resulted in nuclear war. Survivors on the Moon sent a colony ship, its occupants in suspended animation, to Agatsu--and, to ensure order and stability in the new colony, also included some imprinters (Gould deals with this necessary background in the first few pages). On Agatsu, many years later, Leland de Laal, youngest son of Guide Dulan de Laal of Noramland, climbs the Needle rock to prove he's no weakling, finds the Glass Helm (the last imprinter), and puts it on. It fills his head with a dark, indigestible mass of knowledge. Dulan, furious--he'd intended his eldest son, Dexter, to don the Helm--orders that Leland be treated with cold, calculated brutality, and finally sends him to the aikido school at Red Rock Station. Leland, prompted by a strange inner voice, finds that he's somehow become an aikido master. Gradually, he acquires other skills, too. Meanwhile, the ambitious High Steward Siegfried Montrose of rival Cotswold prepares for a war of conquest. Leland, of course, will eventually defeat Siegfried, but first he must integrate the knowledge given him by the Helm, discovering along the way that he now contains the personalities of the people on the Moon who set up the colony project. A well-handled, often persuasive drama, but rather too cozy and predictable.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0982911920
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Tor